Indian opposition parties demand release of Kashmiri political prisoners

New Delhi, August 21 (KMS): Top Opposition leaders of India came together on a virtual platform to give a call for unity and working together for the “ultimate goal” of defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections besides demanding restoration of full statehood to Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir and release of Kashmiri political prisoners.

In a joint statement, the political parties also demanded holding of free and fair elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Opposition parties, however, made no mention of abrogation of special status of IIOJK including repeal of Articles 370 and 35-A.

The online meeting of opposition parties convened by Sonia Gandhi also saw participation of National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party, who were respectively represented by Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.

Sonia Gandhi urged top opposition leaders to rise above political compulsions to take on the BJP in the interest of the nation and start planning “systematically” to realise the “ultimate goal” of winning the 2024 Lok Sabha polls to provide a Government that believes in the values of the freedom movement and provisions of the Constitution.

She also told the meeting – one of the biggest gatherings of opposition leaders in recent times – that there is simply no alternative to working cohesively.

The opposition leaders urged the people of India to save their country for a better tomorrow. They said, “We will jointly organise protest actions all over the country from 20th to 30th September, 2021.” They said the forms of these public protest actions will be decided by the respective state units of their parties, depending on the concrete conditions of the Covid regulations and protocols in the states. These forms, amongst others, may include dharnas, protest demonstrations and hartals, according to the joint statement.

“We, the leaders of 19 Opposition parties, call upon the people of India to rise to the occasion to defend our secular, democratic, republican order with all our might. Save India today, so that we can change it for a better tomorrow,” they said.

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